The possibility that the much-awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) would be played without spectators has arisen as per the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly. Ganguly has hinted that the board would be giving impetus to the safety of players over the participation of crowds in the matches of the tournament.
The BCCI president said there is no certainty to the decision but as per BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s statement on Sunday, several matches in the first half of the tournament would definitely not allow fans to attend the matches.
“Don’t know yet, depends on the situation,” Sourav Ganguly told India Today.
The decision raises a question on BCCI’s call to allow a 50% fan attendance in stadium for the last three Tests of the four-match Test series between India and England. However, Ganguly clarified that in comparison to the bilateral series, IPL is a much bigger tournament since it comprises the participation of eight teams, and would last for a significantly longer duration. Subsequently, it raises the risk amid the COVID-19 situation.
“It’s [IPL] slightly different than a bilateral [series]. If you open up to crowds, there are teams playing in middle, there are teams practising outside as well. A lot of these stadiums have practice pitches outside, and teams practice there because they play every day. So to open it up to crowds, you expect them to get closer to the practising teams. So that could be a bit of a risk,” he added.
On Sunday, the BCCI announced the complete fixtures and venues for the fourteenth edition of IPL. The tournament will commence from April 9 with the last season title defenders Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore locking horns in Chennai. The knockouts of the league will begin from May 25, with the final scheduled for May 30.
Six cities have been finalized to host the matches, including, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Ahmedabad.